Florida Power and Light Company is preparing for another potentially active hurricane season, and is urging Floridians to prepare too.
The Juno Beach power utility company has prepared for the upcoming season by completing an annual intensive weeklong drill involving more than 3,000 employees in May.
This year’s “dry run” tested employee response to a simulated two-landfall hurricane with Gulf Power, which serves Northwest Florida and is part of FPL. The pair worked together on four named storms last year.
The drill also operated under COVID-19 safety measures, which include daily health screenings for restoration personnel and adjusting the layout of staging sites for social distancing. The company has also reduced the number of personnel per site and added more micro-staging sites.
“We know that in Florida it’s not a question of if a hurricane will impact us, but when and where,” Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, said in a statement. “Regardless of the forecast, Floridians know that it only takes one storm to upend our communities. That’s why we continuously prepare, make improvements, leverage technology and sharpen our team’s skills so we can most effectively serve our customers when they need us most.”
The utility company serves more than 5.6 million customer accounts, and supports more than 11 million residents across the Sunshine State.
In preparation for hurricane season, the utility company has also assigned back-up staffing and alternate locations for critical functions, including command and control centers, which coordinate storm response and grid operations.
The company is also working to improve its grid in order to enhance reliability amid natural disasters, and is urging Floridians to prepare too.
“We all have a fundamental responsibility as Floridians to be prepared for hurricane season,” Silagy said in a statement. “Now — before a storm has even formed, let alone threatens our state — is the time to prepare. Waiting until a meteorologist forecasts a storm’s impact is imminent is simply too late to be effective.”
FPL advises that hurricane plans, like the company’s, should consider the pandemic — and anticipate that a direct strike by a major hurricane could damage the energy grid, causing an extended period without power.